The 2014-2015 NFL schedules are out and there are no real surprises here as all of the top contenders received the most difficult schedules while the weak teams from last year received an easier road to the Lombardi Trophy. Let’s take a look.
Top 5 Toughest Schedules
1. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders were the exception to the rule. After finishing a dismal 4-12 last season and placing last in the AFC West Division, one would think that the Raiders would receive a bunch of bottom-feeders on their schedule, but instead they men in silver and black get the toughest schedule with their opponents having a winning percentage of .578. Is this punishment to the Late Al Davis and his defiant ways? Things don’t look good for Matt Schaub and company as they’ll be facing Denver twice and San Francisco once.
2. Denver Broncos
Obviously Denver is the cream of the crop, but for Peyton Manning to get that elusive 2nd Super Bowl title, he’ll have to deal with a schedule that’s less than appealing. We already know that Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno are gone and Denver’s “.570 schedule” looks brutal. In their first 3 games alone they face the Colts and the defending Super Bowl Champion, Seattle Seahawks. That said, once they face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on November 2nd, their schedule becomes much easier.
3. St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford and the 7-9 St. Louis Rams were done no favors as their opponents combined record is .564. The problem with this schedule is that the tough opponents are spread out throughout the season. No breaks for this tough rushing defense as they face Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks twice, the 49’ers, and the Broncos. Ouch!
4. San Diego Chargers
Phillip Rivers showed a lot of heart last season and he’ll need to get his arm ready for the 2014-2015 NFL Season as the Chargers weak pass defense face the Broncos twice, Seattle, New England and at San Francisco. There really is no letup in this schedule at all.
5. San Francisco 49’ers
The 49’ers are actually tied with the Broncos in degree of difficulty at .563, but we’ve heard that there’s been a lot of dissention behind closed doors between the 49’ers players and coach Jim Harbaugh. Vernon Davis says San Francisco must win after a Richard Sherman deflection, which enabled Seattle to go to the Super Bowl and quite frankly, I agree.
Top 5 Weakest Schedules
1. Indianapolis Colts
Lots of people think that Andrew Luck is the future of the NFL and luck is the keyword with a cupcake schedule like this for Indy as their opponents have a combined winning percentage of .430. The 1st 2 games of the Colts schedule are very difficult in a trip to Denver and at home against Philadelphia. Other than a mid-season matchup with the Patriots, it’s smooth sailing. Look for a double figure winning season for Indy.
2. Tennessee Titans
I really have nothing to say about this 7-9 club. They got rid of CJ2K and they’re very weak at the quarterback position. A garbage schedule for a garbage team. Let’s move on
3. Houston Texans
There’s no margain for error for the Texans as they have the number 1 pick in the NFL Draft and an easy schedule (.441). If they make the right moves, we can see dramatic improvement from this team. They don’t know if they’re going to trade the 1st pick or not; the clock is ticking. Time to provide J.J. Watt with some assistance.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Just another awful, non-threatening team right where they should be with a weak schedule (.453) for this season. Maurice Jones-Drew has left the 31st best rushing team in the NFL for Oakland. This team desperately needs some offense and defense as they still face some legitimate teams such as Indianapolis, San Diego, Philadelphia, and Dallas. This schedule isn’t as weak as it appears, just no elite teams included.
5. Baltimore Ravens
This is a great schedule for former Super Bowl Champions John Harbaugh and his quarterback, Joe Flacco. One major issue will be Ray Rice and his off-the-field problems, but when you look at the Ravens schedule, there are a lot of holes. There’s no Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, or Green Bay. The New Orleans Saints appear to be Baltimore’s toughest opponent. This team can go far. Could the Ravens be a possible futures bet?